OCCUPIED AL-QUDS, PALESTINOW.COM — Sheikh Ekrima Sabri, head of the Higher Islamic Council in Occupied Jerusalem, has urged Muslim worshipers to intensify their presence at the Aqsa Mosque next Thursday to mark the Isra and Mi’raj anniversary.
In press remarks, Sheikh Sabri called for necessarily supporting the Aqsa Mosque in all events and occasions, but he stressed the need to observe public anti-coronavirus safety measures.
Sheikh Sabri underlined that the Isra and Mi’raj miracle is part of the Islamic faith as it is mentioned in the holy Qur’an and the Prophet’s Sunnah, calling on Muslim worshipers to avail themselves of such occasion to pray and attend lessons at the Aqsa Mosque.
Occupied Jerusalem (QNN)- 1200 worshipers joined Friday prayer with social distancing at Al Aqsa mosque today, while Israeli authorities continued to prevent Palestinians from outside the Old City from performing prayers at the holy mosque, using Jewish holidays and COVID-19 restrictions as a justification.
For the third Friday in a row, Israeli forces continued to close the road to the Old City and closed Bab Al Amoud, preventing worshipers from praying at Al Aqsa mosque.
Israeli forces set dozens of new checkpoints and carried out random searches, preventing dozens of them from reaching the Al Aqsa mosque.
The Israeli restrictions forced dozens of worshipers to perform prayers at the closest area to the holy mosque.
Israeli forces imposed random fines on worshipers in the neighborhood of Al Misrarah after they insisted to perform prayers near Bab Al Amoud.
Israeli authorities prevent Palestinians from performing prayers at the Al Aqsa mosque, while on the other side, allowing dozens of settlers to celebrate holidays in the courtyards of Al Aqsa mosque and the streets of the occupied city.
A Muslim scholar has linked recent normalization deals between the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Bahrain and Israel to a campaign aimed at undermining Islam and monopolising the Islamic countries, Anadolu Agency reports.
Ali Al-Qaradaghi, the Secretary-General of the International Union for Muslim Scholars (IUMS), said there are many tools being used to “uproot Islam and reoccupy Muslims intellectually, socially, economically and politically”.
“One of these tools is through creating a new religion under the beautiful name of ‘Abraham’s faith’,” Al-Qaradaghi said in a Facebook post on Saturday. “[This claim] does not have anything to do with the rightful monotheistic religions; rather it undermines its foundation,” he said.
The UAE and Bahrain signed US-sponsored agreements with Israel earlier this month to normalize their relations. These deals were officially given the name the Abraham Accords Peace Agreement.
The International Union of Muslim Scholars (IUMS) on Tuesday issued an unanimous religious ruling (fatwa) forbidding normalising relations with Israel.
In its ruling, the union said the Palestinian cause is not just a political issue but one related to Al-Aqsa Mosque; the third holiest site for Muslims and a representation of their identity.
The statement described the normalisation agreements concluded with Israel which “occupies most of Palestine, including the Al-Aqsa Mosque and plans to occupy the rest of the Palestinian territories” as “a concession of the holiest and most blessed lands, and an acknowledgment of the legitimacy of the occupying enemy as well as its crimes against the Palestinian people.”
“Therefore, the so-called peace, reconciliation, or normalisation agreements, in this case, are forbidden and void in Islamic Shari’a [jurisprudence], and a major crime, and a betrayal of the Islamic nation,” it added.
This comes after US President Donald Trump announced that a peace deal had been agreed between the UAE and Israel brokered by Washington.
Abu Dhabi said the deal was an effort to stave off Tel Aviv’s planned annexation of the occupied West Bank, however, opponents believe normalisation efforts have been in the offing for many years as Israeli officials have made official visits to the UAE and attended conferences in the country which had no diplomatic or other ties with the occupation state.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu however denied this saying annexation is not off the table, but has simply been delayed.
“My allegiance is and has always been with the oppressed peoples of Palestine, whether Muslim, Christian, or otherwise. Anyone who says differently is a liar”, Yusuf wrote in a Facebook post
Abu Dhabi (QNN)- Hamza Yusuf, a prominent Muslim scholar based in the United States, denied claims of supporting or endorsing the UAE-Israel normalization deal and reiterated his position with Palestine and the Palestinian people.
On his Facebook account, Yusuf, who was once dubbed “the most influential Muslim scholar in the western world,” said that the recent reports alleging his political views were “fabricated and erroneous.”
“I do not engage in or endorse geopolitical strategies or treaties”, he wrote. “My allegiance is and has always been with the oppressed peoples of Palestine, whether Muslim, Christian, or otherwise. Anyone who says differently is a liar.”
According to Imam al-Shafi‘i, “Words cannot be attributed to one who has not spoken them (لا ينسب الى ساكت قول).”
This is an important juristic principle.
The recent reports alleging my political views were fabricated and erroneous. I do not engage in or endorse geopolitical strategies or treaties. My allegiance is and has always been with the oppressed peoples of Palestine, whether Muslim, Christian, or otherwise. Anyone who says differently is a liar; the Qur’an reminds us, “And the damnation of God is upon liars” (3:61). God is the judge and defender for the believer. I place my complete trust in Him alone.
There have been some articles that have made false attributions about me and fabricated scenarios that never took place. The Qur’an says, “If an ungodly person brings news, ascertain whether or not it is true, for you may end up harming someone out of ignorance and come to regret it” (49:6). I was never contacted by any news or media outlet for a statement or clarification on the recent controversy. Please do not spread lies on the Internet. Suspend judgment and seek clarification.
The Prophet ﷺ said, “The best servants of God are those who remind you of God when they are seen. The worst servants of God are those who carry gossip, separating between loved ones and seeking misery for the innocent.” (Musnad of Imam Ahmad)
Yusuf stressed that he was never contacted by any news or media outlet for a statement or clarification on the recent controversy.
A statement by the Forum for Promoting Peace in Middle East Societies (FPPMES), an organization led by his Saudi-based teacher, Abdullah bin Bayyah, was published on Thursday, endorsing the normalization deal.
The statement, which begins by heaping praise on Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed and the country’s foreign minister, Abdullah bin Zayed, claimed that normalization “stopped Israel from extending its sovereignty over Palestinian lands,” and was a means to “promote peace and stability across the world”.
The statement included names of other scholars, who allegedly endorsed the normalization deal, including Aisha Al-Adawiya, the founder and President of Women in Islam, Inc., who strongly denied her endorsement of the statement as well.
Al-Adawiya stressed that during the latest meeting of the Forum, there were no discussions on Palestine or the UAE normalization deal with ‘Israel’. She also reiterated her position in solidarity with the Palestinian people and resigned in protest against the Forum’s statement.
The statement of the Forum for Promoting Peace in Middle East Societies (FPPMES), showing Hamza Yusuf and Aisha Al-Adawiya as signatories
Jerusalem (QNN) – Palestinians joined Muslims around the world in celebrating the Eid al-Adha holidays on Friday, the second of two Islamic holidays celebrated each year. Tens of thousands of Palestinians took to the Al-Aqsa Mosque in occupied Jerusalem for Eid prayers in the morning — with each worshiper required to wear a mask and bring their own prayer rug.
Eid al-Adha, or Festival of Sacrifice, honors the willingness of Ibrahim (Abraham) to sacrifice his son Ismail as an act of obedience to God. The holiday is celebrated with prayers, family gatherings, and most importantly, the sacrifice of an animal (typically goat, lamb, or cow) for those who can afford it.
This year, however, Eid celebrations were noticeably different. Shops and stores in the West Bank were shuttered, following orders by the Palestinian Authority (PA) to enforce a three-day lockdown over the weekend in an effort to limit the spread of the coronavirus over the holiday. Slaughterhouses and butchers, typically crowded in the week leading up to Eid, noticed a decline in customers as many Palestinians this year can’t afford to sacrifice a sheep, which can reach upwards of $500 depending on its size. With many people out of work due to COVID-19, local officials are expecting a 20% decrease in the purchase of sacrificial sheep and goats this year.
According to the World Health Organization, since July 1 the average daily number of new cases of COVID-19 in the Palestinian territory has been 402. Since mid-July, the overall number of cases has doubled, and within this period there have been at least 37 new deaths.
Travel between Palestinian governorates has been banned in an attempt to keep the outbreak in Hebron contained, which seems largely to have been effective although we are still seeing the numbers climb inside of Hebron.
Social gatherings like weddings and funerals are still prohibited, save for outdoor religious prayers for the Eid holiday. Prayers are capped at 15 minutes and which is already proving difficult to enforce.
Over 27,000 Palestinian Muslim worshipers today attended Eid al-Adha prayers at Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, said WAFA correspondent.
The worshipers made their way in the early morning hours to the mosque compound to attend the prayers of Eaid al-Adha, the “Festival of the Sacrifice” in English, which is the second of two globally celebrated holidays in Islam, as Israel, the occupying power, imposed a partial lockdown to battle the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.
In his sermon, the Grant Mufti of Jerusalem Sheikh Muhammad Hussein stressed that the mosque compound solely belongs to Muslims, and should not be shared with any “aggressor” or “tyrant”.
This came as settler “Temple Mount” groups urged their followers to force their way into the holy site to commemorate Tisha B’Av Day.
Yesterday, Israeli police detained six Palestinians from inside the mosque compound and assaulted others as groups of settlers barged into it under military control.
In last May, the mosque compound was shuttered on Eid al-Fitr as part of the precautionary measures to curb the spread of the pandemic.
For many Palestinians in Jerusalem and across the occupied Palestinian territory, Ramadan is directly connected to the Al-Aqsa Mosque.
The Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, which sits just above the Western Wall plaza, houses both the Dome of the Rock and Al-Aqsa mosque.
The third holiest site in Islam, it is also venerated as Judaism’s most holy place, as it sits where Jews believe the First and Second Temples once stood.
While Jewish visitation is permitted to the compound, non-Muslim worship at Al-Aqsa is prohibited according to an agreement signed between Israel and the Jordanian government after Israel’s illegal occupation of East Jerusalem in 1967.
However, right-wing Jewish groups calling for the destruction of the mosque and the construction of a Jewish temple on the site have repeatedly entered the area under heavy police escort.
The visits, combined with proposals for a Knesset vote to divide the site between Jews and Muslims, have outraged the Palestinian public, which sees the encroachment on Al-Aqsa as symptomatic of the wider denial of their rights in historic Palestine as well as intense discrimination in housing, employment, and social services by Israeli authorities.
Al-Aqsa is located in East Jerusalem, a part of the internationally recognized Palestinian territories that have been occupied by the Israeli military since 1967.
A non-governmental organisation named the International Commission to Monitor Saudi Administration of the Two Holy Mosques – otherwise known as Al Haramain Watch – has launched an campaign and petition to establish an international administration to manage the affairs of the two holy mosques of Makkah and Madinah.
The campaign, which has already resulted in the support of around 100 Muslim scholars and human rights activists, aims to target Muslim-majority and Arab countries, as well as Muslim communities in Europe and the United States, in order to raise awareness of the policies recently enacted by Saudi Arabia with regards to the cities’ administration and pilgrimage.
According to Al Haramain Watch, the kingdom is violating both international law and the morals of its founders by failing to protect the unequivocal rights of Muslims’ access to the holy sites. In recent years, Saudi Arabia has enforced a number of limitations on certain groups and nations in making the Hajj pilgrimage and from visiting the country, with examples being the ongoing ban of Qatari nationals from making the pilgrimage and the ban of Iranian nationals until it was lifted in 2017.
The petition by the organisation states: “Due to the permanent failure of Saudi Arabia to manage the two holy mosques and the feelings and permanent politicisation and the absence of strategic development, we call on Islamic countries and governments to take the initiative and the media to form an interim framework that sets the first building blocks for a long-term plan for the process of managing the two holy sites.”
It urged the international Muslim community to establish “an Islamic administration that takes upon itself the administration of the Two Holy Places and the Holy Bekaa, whose membership consists of all Muslim countries.” The way in which this would work, it claims, would be for the states to “choose a high committee to be elected for a period of 4 years and subject to periodic review by a working association supervised by all member states.”
Al Haramain Watch was established in 2018 for the purpose of ensuring that Saudi Arabia maintains good management of the Islamic holy sites by preserving Islamic historic and preventing the politicisation of the religious pilgrimages.
A key figure in this petition is the Malaysian scholar Azmi Abdul Hamid, who claimed that he had obtained an important historical document written personally by the kingdom’s founder King Abdulaziz Bin Saud, which reportedly states that all Muslims – both the people of the Hijaz region and the Muslim world – have the right to administer the affairs of the holy mosques.
Among the other demands made by the petition was the call for the establishment of a sovereign fund managed by Muslim countries, which would consist primarily of the income made from the Hajj and Umrah pilgrimages.
The petition released by Al Haramain Watch comes amid similar calls by other figures in recent years, including a Turkish politician in 2014 and a Turkish think-tank’s call for an “Islamic Vatican”.
“We will never recognise or accept the deal as it aims to annex occupied Palestinian lands,” he confirmed at a meeting of provincial heads of the Justice and Development Party in Ankara.
As reported by Turkish newspaper, Daily Sabah, Erdoğan also announced that leaving the fate of Jerusalem and the Palestinians entirely in the “bloody claws” of Israel will be “the greatest evil in all humanity”.
Turkey does not have any problems with the Jewish people, Erdoğan stressed, but is against the oppressive policies of Israel which aim to usurp the rights of Palestinians.
The golden dome of mosque at Al-Aqsa is one of the most recognisable sights in the Middle East
By Nadda Osman
The golden dome of Al-Aqsa sits on top of Jerusalem’s Temple Mount, one of the most sacred locations on the planet and revered by Muslims, Christians and Jews alike.
The compound is the third holiest site in Islam. Built in the seventh century, it marks the spot where Islam believes the Prophet Muhammad ascended into heaven.
Its importance is underlined every year during the Night of Power, the holiest time of the holy month of Ramadan when Muslims believe the Quran was revealed to Muhammad. It was also Islam’s first qibla, the direction towards which Muslims pray, before it was replaced by Mecca in the year 623 CE.
The documentary One Night In Al Aqsa, which has its world premiere in London on 2 August, takes audiences on a journey into the compound through the people who live and work there.
The film is directed by Abrar Hussain, who first made his name with the Islam Channel shows Model Mosque – a reality show to find the UK’s best mosque – and Faith Off, an inter-religious game show.
His 2017 documentary One Day In The Haram showed parts of Mecca, Islam’s holiest site, which is only accessible to Muslims, including the daily routines of the workers and life for the millions of pilgrims who arrive for Hajj each year. Hussain turned his attention to Al-Aqsa because he thinks it has been neglected for too long.
“The love for Al-Aqsa isn’t what it should be among the Muslim community,” he told MEE, “so we wanted to make this to boost Al-Aqsa and do something comprehensive for its recognition. When the opportunity to cover Al-Aqsa came, I had to take it because it’s under threat.
“This wasn’t just about the place, it’s also about the people, the workers and the worshippers who live in such difficult conditions under occupation.”
As with Hussain’s previous film, One Night In Al Aqsa explores lesser-seen parts of the compound, from the muezzins calling worshippers to prayer to the role of female employees.
“Our aim was to show people a side of Al-Aqsa they’ve never seen before,” says Hussain, “we didn’t just want to regurgitate content.”
Choosing to shoot during the Night of Power was a deliberate choice. “We capture the atmosphere, how it feels, smells, how the heat is, we tried to make the film a very immersive experience.”
But with its location in the Old City of Jerusalem, Al-Aqsa has been a focus of tension between worshippers and Israeli authorities, who control the complex.
Muslims frequently face difficulties when entering the mosque at Al-Aqsa due to security measures imposed by the Israeli government. Restrictions are often placed on those trying to enter, with entrances being blocked.
Palestinian Muslims in Gaza do not have access to the mosque, while the 2.5 million Muslims in the West Bank can only do so with a permit: restrictions vary, including a total bar on certain days.
This year, for the first time since 2003, Palestinian worshippers were able to pray at the al-Rahma Gate, one of the doorways to the mosque.
From the start, the film team faced obstacles entering the compound and showing parts not seen before in such depth. “One of the major drawbacks was for the last two or three years in Jerusalem they’ve had a complete drone ban,” says Hussain, “and as a film-maker I use drones to get important shots that resonate with viewers. I tried our hardest to get permission but couldn’t.”
Instead Hussain and his team asked film-makers around Jerusalem if they had drone footage. “Many of them let us use it.”
The team also faced questions from guards and Israeli authorities, who also imposed restrictions. “We were operating with a small crew so we wouldn’t attract too much attention to ourselves,” Hussain says.
“We were very wary because even with permissions you could turn up at the gate and they would have to check the equipment or x-ray it, so we would take smaller cameras into the mosque and find ways around it.”
Getting into the compound was not the only problem the team faced, as Hussain and his eight camera crews negotiated the site, crammed with 400,000 worshippers who had endured intense heat after a day of fasting.
It is little wonder then that Hussain, who was sleep deprived and dehydrated, called Night of Power one of the hardest shoots of his life.
“The whole crew was shattered. We did a Fajr to Fajr [pre-dawn prayer] shoot and it fell on a Friday so we captured jum’aa [Friday congregational prayers]. I’ve worked in some pretty difficult places but that was probably the most difficult thing I’ve ever done.”